Congressman Barney Frank, the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies announce a symposium entitled “The Portuguese Renaissance and the Brazilian Baroque: A Colloquium on Three New Books,” to be held at the Library of Congress Members’ Room on Friday, November 13, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. The books to be launched and discussed are:
The Traveling Eye: Retrospection, Vision and Prophecy in the Portuguese Renaissance by Helder Macedo and Fernando Gil, one of the most important works on the Portuguese Renaissance in the past forty years, covering authors such as Fernão Lopes, Bernardim Ribeiro, Camões and António Vieira.
Sonnets and Other Poems by Luís de Camões, translated by Richard Zenith, the first bilingual edition in English to offer a cross-section of the lyric poetry of Portugal’s foremost author, whose great Renaissance epic, The Lusiads (1572), memorialized Vasco da Gama’s inaugural voyage to India (1497-99).
The Sermon of Saint Anthony to the Fish and Other Texts by António Vieira, translated by Gregory Rabassa, the first book by the most important Portuguese and Brazilian Baroque writer to be published in English, including-in addition to his most famous sermon-Vieira’s letter to the king of Portugal in defense of the indigenous population of Brazil and the first five chapters from History of the Future.
********* ********* *********
The Traveling Eye: Retrospection, Vision and Prophecy in the Portuguese Renaissance by Helder Macedo and Fernando Gil (New Bedford: Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2009)
The idea for The Traveling Eye came as a new departure in an old dialogue between the two authors, one a literary scholar, the other a philosopher. Our focus was initially centered on a philosophical hypothesis concerning evidence, with specific reference to the prophetic writings of Father António Vieira, but it occurred to us that this perspective could be applied to literary works, particularly those of the Portuguese Renaissance. The studies that one of us had dedicated to the initiatory aspects of The Lusiads and to the codification of esoteric meanings in the work of Bernardim Ribeiro suggested a possible convergence of our two lines of research. But there are other issues raised by the Portuguese Renaissance: voyages, the new, the encounter with difference and how to understand it. The most obvious and direct expression of these issues is found in the chronicles of voyage and empire, whose importance is duly noted in the study by Luís de Sousa Rebelo included in Chapter III of this book. The literary treatment of this material seems to us no less revealing. Seeing (“seeing clearly seen” as Camões says in The Lusiads) poses the problem of simultaneously seeing “what is there” and of how what is there could be seen. This questioning from the outside by the “traveling eye” went hand in hand with new ways of relating to oneself and to others. Three key Renaissance authors, Luís de Camões (1525?-1580), Francisco de Sá de Miranda (1481?-1558?) and Bernardim Ribeiro (b.1480s?), address the human subject’s relationship as a perplexing issue. Their works transform the feeling of love into a multifaceted investigation that questions the identity of the individual. A recurring theme in this book is the metamorphoses of the self brought about by love.
Fernando Gil (1937-2006) was Directeur d’Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lisbon and Visiting Professor at The Johns Hopkins University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities in Brazil and Spain. In Portugal, he was the founding president of the Gabinete de Filosofia do Conhecimento, the founding editor of the academic journal Análise, and adviser to the President of the Republic, the Minister for Science and Technology, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He was awarded the Fernando Pessoa Prize for his contribution to Portuguese culture and was Grande Oficial of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique. His work includes twelve philosophical treatises and books on literature, music and painting.
Helder Macedo (b. 1935) is Professor Emeritus of Portuguese at King’s College, University of London, where he was Camoens Professor and founding editor of the academic journal Portuguese Studies. He has been Visiting Professor at Harvard University, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and universities in Brazil and Spain. He was Deputy Minister for Culture in the Portuguese Government and is a member of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences and Comendador of the Order of Santiago da Espada. His published work includes ten books of literary criticism, five collections of poetry and five novels.